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Entries in Jordan (66)


Middle East Today: Turkey --- 1st Death as Protests Spread

Protest in the village of Ayvalik (pop: 40,000) on Tuesday

Tonight's Protests

Thousands of protestors returned to Istanbul's Taksim Square on Tuesday night --- Turkish pipe music and singing blared over speakers as the crowd clapped and danced in a festive atmosphere.

In Ankara, residents carried out ther nightly protest of banging pots and pans, leaning from their windows, and marching in the street. Some waved red and white Turkish flags and drivers honked their horns, amid yells directed toward Prime Minister Erdogan: "Tayyip, resign!"

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Syria Today: Deadly Clash Between Insurgents and Hezbollah in Lebanon

See also Middle East Today: Turkey --- Mass Protests and Clashes Move Beyond Istanbul
Sunday's Syria Today: The Civilians Trapped in Qusayr

Report: US Discussing Placement of Patriot Missiles in Jordan

A senior Pentagon official has said that the US and Jordan are discussing the possibility of sending American Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries to the Kingdom, amid the Syrian conflict and the training and arming of insurgents from a base in Jordan.

The official emphasised that an agreement over the deployment has not been reached. However, he said the missile batteries could be flown to Jordan within days and used initially as part of a multinational military exercise in June.

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Syria Today: An Opposition in Disarray?

Opposition Spokesman Louay al-Safi (Akin Celiktas/Reuters)Iranian Lines of Credit to Damascus

The Syrian Central Bank has said that Iran has opened two lines of credit totaling $4 billion to Damascus and plans on opening up a third.

"Iran continues to support Syria, by opening one line of credit worth a billion dollars to finance the import of different items and another line of credit worth three billion dollars to finance the purchase of petrol and associated products," Central Bank Governor Adib Mayale said.

Mayale said Iran was considering an additional loan of $3 billion to bolster the Syrian economy amid war and international sanctions.

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Syria Live: "Terrorists Eliminated by Army Operations"

One of State news agency SANA's standard photographs of soldiers "eliminating terrorists"

See also EA Video Analysis: Introducing "The Love Triangle of Profileration" --- Iran, Syria, North Korea
Iraq (and Beyond) Live: Provincial Elections Amid Spike in Violence
Friday's Syria Live: UN Security Council Condemns Violence by Both Sides

1805 GMT: Aid to Insurgents

US officials have said that Secretary of State John Kerry offered a package of up to $130 million in aid to insurgents at today's Friends of Syria meeting (see 1045 GMT).

The officials said the aid could include body armor, armored vehicles, night vision goggles, and advanced communications equipment.

Earlier this year at a Friends of Syria gathering, in the first US commitment of non-lethal aid, Kerry offered $60 million.

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Iraq (and Beyond) Live: Provincial Elections Amid Spike in Violence

See also Syria Live: "Terrorists Eliminated by Army Operations"
Friday's Iraq (and Beyond) Live: Dozens Killed in Suicide Bombing in Baghdad Cafe

1712 GMT: Egypt

In a statement pointing to the seriousness of the financial crisis, Central Bank head Hesham Ramez has said that each day that goes by without international support adds more risk.

Ramez pointedly noted that a promised $3 billion investment from Qatar to buy bonds, promised earlier this month, has not arrived.

Egypt failed this week to complete a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan.

The Central Bank head called on political groups to meet for dialogue, and said all attention should be placed on the economy so it can provide employment opportunities and confront poverty.

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Syria Audio Feature: Foreign Intervention and the "Second Front" in Jordan --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24

Last night I spoke with Monocle 24's The Daily about the developing "second front" in Jordan, with the US and other countries putting in more forces --- overt and covert --- to support the insurgency in Syria and to protect Amman from "extremists".

Listen to interview from the 7:53 mark on The Daily homepage or in a pop-out window

I also discussed the significance of the temporary cease-fire in Aleppo to collect bodies (a compassionate gesture, but no more) and of President Assad's latest general amnesty (not much).



Syria Live: Assad "No to Surrender, No to Submission"

1523 GMT: Sectarian Threats on the Front Lines of Homs. Some of the rebels who captured the Al Dabbaa airport in Homs (see update 1320) appear to have chanted sectarian slogans. According to The Guardian, a translation of a video from Syrian rebels indicates a strong sectarianism in the language of some of the victorious rebel groups.

Mona Mahmood translates a speech given by a bearded leader in the clip. He says:

"Let the Arab leaders knee under the feet of the mujahideen and heroes of Quasir. We are fighting the most vicious enemy in the world the Shia and the Nusairi. The Shia and Nusairi are gathered against us to destroy Quasir."

It came as the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Right uploaded a video claiming to show three soldiers from the ruling Alawite sect being tortured by rebels in Homs province [Warning: disturbing content].

The clip shows three naked men with plastic blindfolds in oil drums being repeatedly kicked, slapped and spat at by rebels.

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Syria Live: Mass Deaths from Airstrikes

Sudden demonstration in the Mehdat Basha Souk in old Damascus on Sunday

See also Iraq (and Beyond) Live: At Least 20 Killed in Bombings Across Country
Sunday's Syria Live: Assessing the Insurgency

2006 GMT: Lebanon. Insurgent commanders have confirmed their forces responded to Hezbollah strikes by firing shells into Lebanese towns on Saturday and Sunday, but said there were no attacks on Monday.

"If we have to, we will target civilians just like they do. Our civilians are not less valuable than theirs. Hizbullah is killing arbitrarily in Syria," one commander said. Yesterday, we responded. We hit back at Hizbullah's positions."

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Syria Live: Islamist Insurgents "Merging" with Al Qa'eda in Iraq?

2029 GMT: Syrian Jet Bombs Lebanon. Once again, a Syrian jet has dropped bombs in northeastern Lebanon, according to the AFP:

"A Syrian jet dropped five shells on the outskirts of Sarjal Ajram. No one was hurt," the official said.

Sarjal Ajram lies northeast of Arsal, which is home to a majority Sunni population, and whose residents support the uprising in neighbouring Syria against President Bashar al-Assad.

2019 GMT: Rebel Attack on Hama Airport. Earlier we reported that rebels were attacking Hama airport with homemade rocket launchers (see update 1733). According to Now Lebanon, which cites activists, the regime has evacuated its helicopters from the airport in response:

The activist Syrian Media Center said that regime forces moved helicopters from the under-fire airport to a base in Dair Shamil, a small Alawite-populated village west of Hama.

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Syria Live: A Funding Crisis for the Refugees

See also Syria Feature: US Considering Military Steps for No-Fly Zone
Syria Video: President Assad's Interview with Turkey's Ulusal TV
Friday's Syria Live: The Regime's Warning Over the Foreign Base in Jordan

2015 GMT: Casualties. Local activists claim a regime airstrike on a mainly Kurdish area in Aleppo has killed 15 people, with the toll likely to rise because of a large number of serious injuries.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine children and three women were among those killed in the Sheikh Maksoud neighbourhood.

The Observatory asserted that, after the airstrike, Kurdish fighters killed five regime soldiers in an attack on an army checkpoint on the outskirts of Sheikh Maksoud.

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